Manitoba Tories promise to cut ambulance fees in half if elected
Liberals have promised to eliminate ambulance fees for low-income seniors
Manitoba's Progressive Conservatives are promising to cut ambulance fees in half if the party wins the April 19 election.
Leader Brian Pallister says many people face bills of $500 or more for an ambulance ride, and some try to drive themselves or get a ride to hospital.
The Liberals have promised to eliminate ambulance fees for low-income seniors earning under $20,000 a year.
Pallister says the Liberal plan offers no help to most people, and would create two-tier ambulance service.
In a statement to CBC the NDP called the PC plan "risky" and said money Pallister promises today will mean cutting front-line healthcare services.
Under the NDP government, Manitoba has hired more than "1,500 paramedics since 1999 and we committed in our recent Throne Speech to equalize and reduce ambulance fees," said a spokesperson for the NDP.
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The Paramedic Association of Manitoba said it is aware of the campaign promises by both the Conservatives and the Liberals to reduce the cost of ambulance services in the province.
"We hear regularly from patients that we care for that they have concerns about being able to afford the cost, and we also know that some families and friends have actually transported patients to hospital in their own vehicle to avoid this cost," said a spokesperson for the association.
"Not only does this delay treatment that the patient would receive when paramedics arrive, but it has the potential to be life-threatening should the patient's condition deteriorate while in private transport. The Paramedic Association of Manitoba supports reducing ambulance fees."
With files from the Canadian Press